Scripture Reading: Romans 10:1-4

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a great zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (Romans 10:1-3)

Paul continues to lay out his sorrow and anguish over the lost condition of unbelieving Jews (see 9:1-5). I want to apply these verses more broadly to include religious people in general. Religion is one of the great enemies of the gospel. Religious people have a difficult time understanding the concept of grace. They may have a “great zeal for God,” but they don’t understand that it is impossible for them to earn His righteousness. They are seeking to establish their own righteousness through works.

There are many zealous religious people. Human begins are born with a religious nature. However, because of sin, they do not naturally seek God on His terms — “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). There are many zealous religious people who do not have a knowledge of the truth. They may be religious; but they are religiously wrong.

There is another fundamental issue related to religious people — we call it “self righteousness.” These are people who are “seeking to establish their righteousness” by religious works, traditions and rituals. They trust in their own religious efforts to make them acceptable to God.

Religious people have to understand that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (v. 4). It is not our efforts to keep the law that makes us righteous; it is faith alone in our Savior who alone perfectly kept the law for us. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

Lord Jesus, thank You for making my salvation possible through Your sacrificial work on my behalf. Thank You, Father, for granting grace to me through Your Son. And thank You, O Holy Spirit, for causing me to be born again and giving me the ability to grasp the good news that I am saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.


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